Did you know that California is the state with the most stolen cars? To help address this problem, the Automobile Club of Southern California and local law enforcement will provide free anti-car theft Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etching for car windows from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29, at the Auto Club Downey branch.
Anyone can receive the VIN etching on their windows to make them a less likely target for car theft. Car window VIN etchings are small, but visible enough to deter thieves, according to law enforcement officials.
The event is co-hosted by the Auto Club Downey branch, the California Highway Patrol Santa Fe Springs area office and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). The agencies also will offer car theft and vehicle burglary prevention tips to vehicle owners and anti-theft devices for high-risk vehicles. The FBI Uniform Crime Report noted 792 car thefts in Downey in 2015.
Members and non-members, with current vehicle registrations and driver licenses, can attend the event at the Auto Club Downey branch, 8223 Firestone Blvd., 90241. For more information, call the branch at 562-622-2100 or Auto Club Public Relations at 714-885-2324.
Car theft is the number one property crime in America. The NICB, law enforcement and National Highway Transportation Safety Agency say the permanent engraving of a vehicle’s federally registered VIN helps deter car theft because VIN-etched car windows prevent thieves from switching the dashboard VIN plate to mask the car’s identity, and marked car parts can’t be sold as easily.
Auto Club and agencies’ 10 tips to prevent vehicle burglary and theft include:
- Always lock your vehicle with the windows closed.
- Never leave valuables inside the car, especially not in clear view, including small electronics, keys, purses, wallets, checkbooks, personal paperwork or any personal identification.
- Bring electronics and personal items into your home or office whenever possible.
- Use anti-theft or automatic tracking devices. If your vehicle wasn’t equipped with an alarm or hidden tracking device when purchased, have one installed.
- Never leave your keys in your vehicle, even at a gas station. .
- Whenever possible, park your vehicle in a secure garage or a well-lit area at night.
- Never hide a spare ignition key in your vehicle, including under floor mats, sun visor, etc.
- Never leave the vehicle running at any time when you’re not in it. This includes your driveway, while picking up friends, or while at a grocery store, dry cleaner or shopping mall.
- If you own a popular vehicle among car thieves, like an older Honda, find a secondary locking device for your vehicle and use it.
- Beware of thieves stealing cars during test drives. If you’re advertising a vehicle for sale online or on Craigslist, get driver’s license information of the prospective buyer and enough information on where they’re going to ensure the potential buyer will want to bring the car back.